Saturday, March 19, 2011

Small Apartment

The brilliant heat of a Duraflame log is burning in a corner fireplace, sending most of its smoke up the chimney, though the small apartment still has the distinct smell of burnt wood. A young woman is laying on her back, stretched out on the thick white carpet of the one-bedroom apartment, her head supported by a large blue plastic bag full of thin folded blankets. Her entire body is facing the fire, the soles of her feet are the closest, standing upright though tilted outwards slightly, taking in the warmth of bright yellow flames leaping towards oxygen.
Two feet from her head, to the left of her body, is a large flat-screen TV. Men in tight primary-colored spandex uniforms run back and forth across a field chasing the illusory ball of dreams. The familiar sound of sportscasters and the low, slightly dull noise from a crowd of thousands fills the small apartment. No conversation can be had over the sound of the TV and no one tries.
Beside the young woman is a large tan dog with wide, floppy ears. The dog is laying next to the girl, pressing into her slightly with warm weight. The dog’s head constantly turns upwards, looking for a hand and affection. As the fingers of the girl’s right hand twirl the dog’s pliable ear round and round, the dog closes her eyes and sinks into the sounds of the room.
Behind the young woman is a plush gray couch. A sheet is stretched across the lower half to prevent the constant attack of dog hair. A short man with thin limbs and a slightly bulging stomach is sitting on the couch, his left hand full of sugar-covered macadamia nuts. Every few seconds he raises his hand and drops a few more into his mouth. He is watching the game before him with mild interest, though he looks around the room every once in a while to see if anything has changed.
A younger man is sitting in the leather armchair beside the couch. His eyes are focused only on the TV. Every few minutes he yells out, cursing some move made by someone thousands of miles away.
Ten feet away from the couch and the fireplace is the kitchen, a small nook without walls that is drenched in overhead florescent lighting. A mother and daughter are in the kitchen. They share the same coloring, pale skin verging on pink, light hair tending towards red, though the mother has taken pains to highlight her short hair in blond streaks.
The mother is moving around the small kitchen rapidly, opening drawers, shutting drawers, turning on the faucet, pulling on the roll of paper towels, opening the oven, closing its creaking door with a muffled bang as the aroma of cooking oranges and cranberries escapes into the scent of burning wood. The mother moves rapidly, repeating the same gestures and movements in quick succession.